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In The Beginning...


Forge and Hazelwood Integrated Primary Schools were the first planned integrated primary schools in Northern Ireland, both opening their doors in 1985.

In September 1985 Forge opened with 35 children and 4 members of staff, including Judy Heaney who still works here as a classroom assistant (You can read an interview with her in the Interviews section).

Despite what now appear to be the very obvious merits of educating all children together, there was much opposition to integrated education at the time, but some very committed parents believed in what they were doing and kept going. Politically and socially, the climate is so different now that it’s hard to appreciate the scale of the obstacles faced over thirty years ago.

The founding parents gave a lot of time, money and effort, and we have much to thank them for. (Mary Connolly, an ex-governor present at the time tells some of the story in the Interviews section. Click here.)

In 1993 Forge moved from its original site on Balmoral Avenue, to its current location off the Ormeau Road.

In late 2020 architects are putting the finishing touches to drawings for submission to the Planning Service for the consttuction of a new, 14 class primary school, 52 place nursery unit and Learning Support Units on a cleared site just off the Upper Knockbreda Road. The projected completion date for completion of the project is the 2022-23 period.

This 15 minute film made for the 'Big Small Stories' project reflects on the school's journey from it's early days through to 2017